This extremely underrated phone deserves more recognition

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Don't underestimate this extremely underrated phone
It's easy to say which is the best phone money can buy in 2022: just point at the most expensive flagship out there, pick a side, be it Android or Apple, decide whether you want a smaller or extra large phone, and your options are clear.

But what if you want to buy a phone that doesn't really break the bank, yet covers all the essential elements that make a great flagship?

Is there a true no-compromise device that will give you...
  • the speed and power
  • the battery life
  • the excellent screen quality
  • and the all-around camera performance
  • all at once, at an affordable price?

Well, there sure is! Enter the most under-rated phone of the year so far: a device literally half the price of flagships... yet somehow hitting all those check marks!

And this phone is... the Galaxy S21 FE!

Granted, this is nothing but my personal opinion, but let me explain myself and hopefully convince you to take a closer look at this underrated gem. And... for all of you mobile tech fans out there, you almost forgot this phone existed in the first place, didn't you? I know I did. 

This Galaxy has an out-of-this world low price

The first big argument that the Galaxy S21 FE makes for itself is the price: the official price is $700, but right now you can get it for just $550 at the link below and this price has been around in one store or another pretty much since its launch. Talk about a truly affordable phone that doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

The Good

  • Fast performance
  • 120Hz Adaptive refresh rate
  • Excellent camera performance
  • Lightweight construction
  • One of few dual SIM phones in the US

The Bad

  • Priced very close to flagship models
  • Plastic construction might disappoint some
  • No microSD, no headphone jack
  • Thermal throttling is an issue

The second part of the appeal of the S21 FE is the camera and how little it compromises there. Equipped with a true triple camera setup, you have a flagship camera system, no less. Let me also kindly remind you that rivals in this price range (iPhone 13 and Pixel 6) lack the zoom camera, which is absolutely essential if you want to take portrait pictures, or just pictures of people and pets in general (and I bet you do).

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Galaxy S21 FE Portrait Shots

The third part is just how well made this phone is. The plastic back cover doesn't bother me one bit, but I do appreciate how this phone has a density and gravitas that the Galaxy A series do not. Those slightly lower-cost phones feel hollow and now quite as tightly put together, while the S21 FE feels reassuringly durable.

Another element in the build quality puzzle is just the size and the weight of this phone, it's got a comfortably big 6.4" AMOLED screen, but the physical size is actually a bit smaller than the Galaxy S22 Plus, which does feel a bit too big for my taste. The S21 FE hits just that sweet golden middle.

Let's not forget that this phone features the flagship processor from last year, the Snapdragon 888, which means everything is zippy, which you notice especially in comparison with the Galaxy A53 which I have been testing recently. Also, you have support for the coveted 5G C-band, an essential frequency if you want to truly enjoy 5G now and in the future.

The last piece of the puzzle also fits: the battery life. Equipped with a 4,500mAh battery, this phone has more juice than the small Galaxy S22, so it will last a day of average use, which the S22 can struggle with. Still, battery life is not exactly the strong point of either of those phones, don't expect it to last more than a day.

Wait... is there a caveat?

Honestly, there is very little that I find missing on the S21 FE. It doesn't have the newest processor, but I hardly could notice that in daily use. Unlike true low-cost options like the aforementioned Galaxy A series, it has none of the big compromises either: the vibration motor, for example, is nice and collected, unlike the vague, can-of-bees type of haptics you get on budget devices.

All of this coupled with the sweet price, make the Galaxy S21 FE my number one recommendation for people looking for a budget phone, and especially for those who value a no-compromise camera with proper zoom, the number one feature that sets premium flagships apart, this one has it.

So is there a caveat? Well, not really. Some users complain the vibration can be a bit too weak, there is no microSD card slot, nor a headphone jack, but most devices these days don't have those.

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